Not so long ago, before most of us had ubiquitous access to communications services, one might be driving to work in the morning to radio announcements such as ‘and can a Mr Jones from Norwich please call home, you’ve left your briefcase again…’
While helping avoid the public embarrassment this used to cause for those of us with slightly absent minded tendencies, now, apparently, many of us get stressed if our Internet access is taken away. Not only that, Google has become so synonymous in our culture with the Internet that it even features in the new term given to this stress – ‘discomgoogolated’.
According to a recent YouGov survey, nearly half of Britain is suffering from this feeling of stress or anxiety when unable to access the Internet.
To Dr David Lewis, the psychologist who worked on the study and discovered the disorder by measuring heart rates and brainwave activity, a big culprit is the proliferation of broadband – ‘a galaxy of information is just a mouse click away and we have become addicted to the web… when unable to get online, discomgoogolation takes over.’
As timing would have it, there are some ‘tough choices’ facing the UK for the next generation of broadband proliferation. Figures ranging from £5bn to £28bn are being mooted to further cable up those of us who live and work in the UK, and one wonders if the possible consequences of mass-discomgoogolation in the future are being factored into the options!
All a little grist to the socio-technical perspective mill of course, and perhaps some timely food for thought for socio-economic Internet planning beyond the obvious infrastructural questions…